Snowshoe Hare Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

This lesson will teach you about a kind of hare called the snowshoe hare. You will learn where it lives, what it likes to eat and some other cool facts about this interesting animal.

What Is a Snowshoe Hare?

Imagine walking through mountains, your feet sinking into the cold, deep, crunchy snow with every step. A furry animal is watching you, but you almost don't see it because it is white, making it nearly invisible against the wintery background. You notice it has big feet as it scampers off, and it doesn't sink into the snow like you do. You've just met a snowshoe hare!

A snowshoe hare is a North American hare with fur on its big back feet and a fur coat that changes color, depending on the season.

Snowshoe hare in the winter
White Snowshoe Hare in the Winter

If you went back to that mountain scene in the summer, the white snowshoe hare you saw would be a brownish color, making it just as hard to see against the summer forest background as it was in the winter.

Snowshoe hare in the summer
Brown Snowshoe Hare in the Summer

Features of the Snowshoe Hare

The snowshoe hare's fur changes color so it can blend in with the color of its surroundings. The only part of the fur that doesn't change color is the very tops of the ears, which stay black. Just like you wear different clothes in the winter and the summer, snowshoe hares do, too!

Snowshoe hares got their name because they have big feet that are covered in a lot of thick fur. These feet, which are around 7 inches long, help them move around in the snow without sinking into it, and the fur keeps them from slipping on the ice. People have to strap snowshoes to their feet to walk through the snow, but snowshoe hares already have them built in!

White snowshoe hare with big back feet
White Snowshoe Hare with Big Back Feet

Is a Hare a Rabbit?

Hares are not rabbits, even though they look a lot alike and are part of the same animal family. Hares are bigger than rabbits and have longer back legs and longer ears than rabbits.

If a rabbit is in danger, it will usually stand completely still. Hares, on the other hand, typically run. Snowshoe hares can go up to 30 miles per hour, and they can jump as far as 12 feet in a single hop!

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